I have been in northern Europe for the past three weeks.  For over half that time I cruised Norway’s fjords and inlets — I could not help but compare them to those which grace Alaska’s southeastern panhandle.  A very simple description would be this: numerous waterfalls descend into Norwegian fjords while tidewater glaciers calve into the Alaskan ones.  As a rule of thumb, a Norwegian fjord is as deep as the surrounding mountains are high.  Not so for many Alaskan inlets where their glacial slabs of ice crash into the sea … with awesome sounds!

Along several Norwegian fjords at water level are many salmon and rainbow trout fish farms.  Often, small pastoral farms terrace up the mountain sides with apple and pear orchards displayed in neat rows wherever more level patches of ground exist.

Alaskan fjords with their tidewater glaciers lack any significant, permanent human presence because of the massive flowing ice hazards.  In fact, only certain sized ships are allowed into many inlets: for example, only two cruise lines have permission to sail Glacier Bay.

Glaciers play a pivoted role in Spirit Made Smaller.  For more background on tidewater glaciers and how to land a small airplane on them, please take a pass through the relevant chapters in Spirit Made Smaller.

I also spent five days in Amsterdam to research the settings for the middle third of my next novel.  I located the ideal house on Prinsengracht (‘gracht’ means canal in Dutch) in which I hope to tell how a Rembrandt etching was hidden and then rediscovered.  I recommend anyone who visits Amsterdam to view the exhibits at the Rembrandt House Museum on Jodenbreestraat.  I was fortunate to observe how an etching was made and how a picture was printed from it employing seventeenth century methods.

The Pacific Northwest Writers Association is holding its annual conference at the SEATAC Hilton Conference Center on July 17-20, 2014.  I am one of the selected authors who will autograph copies of their books at the Friday evening, July 18th, sponsored book signing event.  Hope to see you there!

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